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Readers write in about the May elections, inappropriate pandemic behavior and more.

Workers need more testing for virus

When can essential workers expect COVID-19 testing will be available to them?

My daughter has been working nonstop at a local grocery store since the beginning of the pandemic, and the anxiety she and coworkers live with not knowing who might be carrying the virus is unbearable and cruel. Many of these workers have chosen to isolate themselves from family rather than risk exposing them unknowingly.

When will testing be available to the people who are working to assure your lives go on by meeting your necessities? When?

Melissa Wyant, Sherwood

As Americans die from COVID-19, greed is alive and well

Maybe it's time to talk about coronavirus vultures.

Two days ago, I received a self-promoting letter in the mail from a mortuary asking me to fill out a survey comprised of 19 questions. The questions varied from my age to how much experience I have had in arranging funerals, how much I expect to pay for a funeral, how important the location of the funeral home and cemetery might be, if I have life/funeral insurance and whether I have a will etc.

The letter ends with "If this letter reaches you at a time of illness or loss, please accept our sincerest apologies." After two pages of a total attempt at an invasion of my privacy, and to attract business, these apologies are way too late.

Here's another one. I have taken allergy tablets for several years — same brand with very little difference in price. Imagine my surprise when I had the need to purchase these same tablets, for which I normally pay between $10 and $15, and now must pay $29 at a local pharmacy.

Then today in the mail, I received a "Free Gift to Senior Citizens Ages 50 to 85" which was comprised of "2020 Benefit Information for Oregon Citizens Only." This benefit would pay 100 percent of all funeral expenses up to $35,000 and is "tax-free" for Oregon residents.

Taking advantage of this gift would involve me giving my name, my spouse's name, both our ages and our phone number to: Direct Processing Center in Boise, Idaho, for which I will receive a free copy of the Memorial Guide Book. Wow! Am I ever excited.

How disheartening this type of chasing the almighty dollar has become in this time of worldwide tragedy. Doctors, nurses, health care providers, paramedics, fireman and police are all putting their lives on the line to protect us. Because of an ineffective response by the federal government to this emergency, these heroes do not even have the equipment needed to do that for which they have been trained.

There are those persons locally who are making masks, making food deliveries, offering contributions to help those in need. They are not asking for reimbursement or even acknowledgment. They are just doing whatever they can to help.

While the vultures circle.

And last but not least in this tirade of disappointment: Who made the declaration that liquor and marijuana stores are necessary for human survival of this pandemic?

Nancy Whitney, St. Helens

Great to see ingenuity of local youth

Courtney Vaughn's article "Scappoose teen makes face shields using 3D printer" (April 9, 2020) shows that small-batch demand-pull manufacturing for local networks is emergent. Also, by using low-cost or free, open-source hardware, software and designs, it's a viable future.

Read our story on Christian Bilton's 3D-printed face shields from April 9, 2020.

Christian Bilton is a young hero, providing valuable proof-of-concept for open manufacturing. Imagine if everyone had a 3D printer and quickly could do small batches in a demand-pull emergency for a local network. There would be plenty of masks!

Now, a cynic might be worried about regulations. Reasonable concern in the near term, but unenforceable in the long term if it's local trade, barter, or small enterprises using new or reused materials already deemed safe.

And that's where this is all going. Eventually, the institutional framework will have to change. Artificial scarcity is artificial and post-scarcity technological unemployment is unfounded. Indeed, the legacy system of supply-push mass production would collapse on itself long before full automation is realized.

The most important programmers, engineers, makers and technologists today are anonymous kids tinkering in their bedroom. Support them. Well done, Christian!

Paul Ottaviano, Beaverton

Grant's attitude, outlook are right for bench

I write to offer my support to Jenefer Stenzel Grant during her campaign for re-election as Columbia County Circuit Court judge. I have known her for 20 years and witnessed her career growth from attorney to Circuit Court judge.

She is dedicated to our community and shows support for many of the programs involving the welfare of women, children and recovering addicts. She is a role model supporting young women in our community. She is open and enlightened and willing to take on challenges.

She shows her diversity and honesty in the decisions she makes from the bench. She is passionate about her role and responsibility as a judge. Columbia County needs open-minded thinkers who will be innovative and supportive of the programs that involve change and fairness to everyone.

Please join me in supporting Jenefer Stenzel Grant for Circuit Court judge.

Marti Kyles, St. Helens

End of an era as veterinary clinic is torn down

The Forest Grove Veterinary Clinic building on the corner of Birch Street and 19th Avenue was demolished the week of April 1, 2020.

The veterinary practice was the result of three generations of veterinarians serving the community. Dr. Willard and Ida Coon moved from North Dakota and opened a clinic in a blacksmith shop on 19th Avenue in 1912. Dr. Coon used a horse and buggy to make farm calls.

Dr. Elwyn and Leona Coon joined his father on the corner of Council and 19th Avenue in 1932. Dr. Richard and Arlene Coon joined the practice when the current building was completed in January 1963. Dr. John and Jenny Minor became a part of the practice in 1972.

The flag on the east end of Forest Grove is a thank-you to the community for all the support over those 90 years.

Richard and Arlene Coon, Forest Grove

Global warming as big a crisis as virus

Last Easter, a garden built on Zenith Petroleum Terminal railroad tracks to fight fossil-fuel pollution sent a handful of people to court.

This Easter, as we are embroiled in a world pandemic, here is my vision: As companies step up to help with this crisis, couldn't they also step up to help with our biggest crisis, namely worldwide climate change?

Let's cut CO2 and methane pollution in the atmosphere. Let's stop destroying our land, air, water, forests and our health. We can do this! Let's have a more beautiful, healthier, safer world through changing now to clean, sustainable energy — wind, water, geothermal and solar powers — for our children and our grandchildren.

Now is the time for action for a healthier post-pandemic world.

Mary Ann Reeser-Rudy, Northwest Portland

Reasons to back McLeod-Skinner for state office

In these uncertain times, it's easy to forget we have elections happening next month.

With the current pandemic, it's become more obvious than ever that we need strong leadership in our state officers. To that end, I would like to encourage voters to support Jamie McLeod-Skinner for secretary of state.

Jamie has experience managing organizational effectiveness and is an attorney and natural resource consultant who will work to bring people together across political and cultural divides to focus on addressing our shared challenges. She currently serves on the Jefferson County Education Service District and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.

She is also the only candidate who does not accept funds from PACs, corporations, or fossil fuel and pharmaceutical companies. She grew up in Southern Oregon, lives in Central Oregon and has the ability to provide strong support to all Oregonians as our next secretary of state.

Leanna Woodall, Aloha

Mayo, Magruder offer wrong vision for Columbia County

Harry Truman: "The buck stops here."

Donald Trump: "I don't take any responsibility at all."

Wayne Mayo: "President Trump makes me think of Harry Truman."

Mr. Mayo also seems to believe that smog is water vapor. And speaking about pollution, Margaret Magruder's campaign is bankrolled by planet-killing fossil fuel corporations like Global Partners.

Columbia County deserves leaders with mental clarity and sound judgment. That is why I'm supporting Brandee Dudzic for County Commissioner Position 1.

Jeff Campbell, Scappoose

Coronavirus update from state representative

This is a strange and frustrating time for all of us.

Everyone I hear from is doing their best to protect and support our community. Our frontline workers in grocery stores, delivery services, trucking, sanitation, and, of course, healthcare workers, are putting themselves in harm's way and working long, hard hours and they deserve our thanks now more than ever.

Our public workers processing unemployment claims, providing resources, and supporting our response are doing their best to get resources to our communities and are scaling up their capacity at unprecedented rates. Long waits and technical difficulties are still occurring, and are still frustrating, but we are hearing you and doing everything we can to make the response meet the demand.

We are all eager for Stay Home, Save Lives to end, but we are weeks away from having the data and resources we need to start opening our economies and circles back up. We have to accept that this will be a long process and our state will likely not be able to open up all at once, nor will "open" look and feel like our pre-virus normal.

We have to be patient and continue supporting each other and listening to experts so we don't see a second surge in cases. We will be taking a health-first and fact driven approach for re-opening and we are going to do everything we can to ensure that our recovery leaves no one behind, especially not those that have been on the front lines or hit hardest by this crisis.

Thank you all for Staying Home and Saving Lives. We are in this together and we will get through it together.

State Rep. Susan McLain, Forest Grove

Castaneda is right for county government

I am voting for Manuel Castaneda because he is a problem solver. After the COVID-19 pandemic is over, we will face even more uncertain economic times. We need elected officials who can solve the new problems that arise and rebuild our communities.

I have worked with Manuel in the past and I know he is someone who will listen, learn about the issues, and collaborate with others to make sure we come up with the best solution.

Please join me in voting for Manuel in May. He is what we need on the Commission.

Kathy Bartholemy, Beaverton

Backing Stevens in House District 26

We wanted to write and lend our support to Peggy Stevens' run for our state representative. Our current representative has utterly failed us. We now have a state fee ($17) to float in our own canoe, or floating devices in any waterway in Oregon. Then there is a new corporate tax she supported.

She has supported every tax increase, and every governmental encroachment into our lives.

Where she failed us is in our schools. Why do we receive less money per child than other school district? Are our children not as important as any other?

Peggy Stevens will represent us, not Portland. Portland has enough representatives. It doesn't need our representative also. As an Independent, I am voting for Sherwood, for Wilsonville, for our district, which does not include Portland.

Mark O. Cottle and Susie Cottle, Sherwood

Grant's misdeeds are disqualifying

If you want integrity, vote for Michael T. Clarke for circuit court judge.

I encourage everyone to re-read the Columbia County Spotlight's May 18, 2019, article "Judge Grant falsely accuses colleague of stalking."

The judge accused an employee at the courthouse of stalking another employee. Since a judge had made such a serious accusation, the county commissioners hired an independent investigator, Stoelk Investigations from Salem, to investigate.

Stoelk found that the judge's statements were not supported and she altered her story.

Read our May 18, 2019, story on Judge Jenefer Grant's accusations against a Columbia County employee.

The final report asserts that the judge's statements were "disingenuous" (page 17) and "simply lacks credibility" (page 17). The last sentence concludes "behavior as reported by Judge Grant — unfounded" (page 18). Disturbingly, the report mentions other undisclosed investigations involving the judge (page 16).

The full report can be found here.

In good conscience, I cannot vote to retain a judge that through an independent investigation is found to be disingenuous, lacking credibility and, worst of all, makes false accusations against others.

I have higher expectations. I will be voting for change.

Vote for Michael T. Clarke for Circuit Court judge. Clarke is hardworking, reliable and has broad legal experience. Clarke will bring integrity back to our courts.

Al Petersen, St. Helens

Tigard police need voters' support

Tigard has an important challenge — inadequate police coverage. The number of officers in the Tigard Police Department has not kept up with our growth or with changing times. Along with that, our police are responding to significantly more calls than 10 years ago. Many of those calls deal with homelessness or mental health situations. More cases require more complex and time-consuming investigations.

We're all focused right now on getting back to normal over the next few months, but I believe we also need to keep focused on long-term priorities in our community.

As time goes by, Tigard has become further behind in the number of officers to cover our community, especially compared to neighboring cities. If we don't invest in strong police coverage, crime could increase.

Voting yes on Measure 34-295 is a way we can all help address this problem. It will fund eight new officers and critically needed training for all Tigard police officers in crisis intervention and de-escalation.

Adding officers means more neighborhood patrols. More patrols means safer neighborhoods.

Please vote yes to keep Tigard safe.

Yes on Measure 34-295!

Carl Switzer, Tigard

Public safety important for Washington County

Washington County is a great place to live and work. A pillar of that is our high degree of safety and security. Strong public safety means every link in the chain is strong — police and sheriff patrols, enforcement, investigations, prosecution, jail, victim assistance, probation and parole.

The Washington County Public Safety Levy ensures that core public safety work continues and benefits every community and resident across Washington County.

The levy enables city and county police officers and district attorney prosecutors to strengthen the investigation, enforcement and prosecution of crimes. It ensures enough prosecutors are available to follow through on arrests. It makes the jail operate at full capacity, minimizing early release of potentially dangerous offenders due to overcrowding.

This is a replacement levy that has been serving Washington County for 20 years. It is critical to the criminal justice system.

We all have significant concerns at this time over the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. I have confidence in our resiliency to put equal focus on the essential long-term safety an economic benefits of this five-year levy.

Please help continue making Washington County a safe community. Vote yes on Measure 34-296.

John Koch, Beaverton

Former St. Helens police chief backs Judge Grant

When it comes to electing a Circuit Court judge, I'd look for someone who will bring personal and professional assets that are the greatest benefit to the community.

I believe that Judge Jenefer Stenzel Grant has done that. As a police officer in the community for over 27 years, there has been plenty of opportunity for me to disagree with the decisions of our judiciary. It comes with the territory. But I've known Judge Grant for over 20 years. I know that she always welcomes a hearty debate and is always going to be respectful and unbiased. She listens, evaluates facts and makes careful, thoughtful decisions.

To me this demonstrates her informed perspective and balanced judgment. These are all qualities that should be considered in a Circuit Court judge.

She has a generous and empathetic heart with concern for people whose life experiences are different from her own. For a position like Circuit Court judge, I think this matters. As a member of the Columbia County Drug Court Team I watched over and over again as Judge Grant met with defendants who were navigating the criminal justice system while struggling with their horrible addictions. She treated each one of them with respect and kindness but expected their accountability. She weighed her decision-making process against the probable outcomes and the results were generally very positive.

The decision on who should be a Circuit Court judge is an important one. I believe that Jenefer Grant has demonstrated her value in the position. In this upcoming election, I hope that you will give her your consideration.

Terry Moss, Silverton

Support Tigard police on May ballot

Tigard Police Department is getting more calls for service and seeing more complex investigations. Our police are seeing an enormous increase in calls involving mental health and substance abuse.

These calls require additional time to complete effectively and result in an increase in our officers' workload.

The Tigard police services levy funds eight additional police officers. It is on our ballots this May, Measure 34-295, and deserves your support.

Increasing police staffing levels helps with the growing workload and means reduced response times, imperative for solving certain crimes and the apprehension of criminals.

More police officers also means improved ability to handle multiple urgent calls simultaneously.

Please join in voting yes for a safe and secure Tigard.

Yes on Measure 34-295!

Kate Rogers, Tigard

Local attorney backs Clarke for bench

I live in Columbia City and practice law in Columbia County and throughout the state. My practice area is employment law. I have represented small business owners and employees, including state employees. I also appear before judges throughout the state.

In researching judge candidates for the May 2020 election in Columbia County, I found a Spotlight article on the incumbent, Judge Jenefer Grant, from 2019. I was stunned. As an employment lawyer, I am appalled that Judge Grant was found to have been untruthful during an investigation. Judges are held to a high ethical standard for good reason.

Due to the investigative findings, I support Michael T. Clarke for Columbia County Circuit Court judge. I don't know Michael T. Clarke well, but I am very glad he is running in this race. He has both criminal and civil litigation experience, which will serve him well on the bench.

I am promoting him to my friends in the community and I urge you to do the same. Please help me vote for a change to our local Columbia County judges.

Krista Le Roux, Columbia City

Turned off by chalk advertisements for Bowman

A Ben Bowman supporter (I'm assuming not the man himself) has scrawled chalk graffiti in at least three places in Gabriel Park as of April 16 that says, "Vote by May 19 for Ben Bowman for State Senate." I know from past experience (from races in the park) that unless someone makes an effort to scrub this away, it will be there a very long time.

At a time when other people are writing encouraging messages like, "Hang in there," "Together we can do this," etc., to have someone writing a political advertisement is offensive in the extreme.

Up until today, I knew nothing about this man, but I 100% will not vote for him now. Maybe he knows nothing about this graffiti, but if this is what his supporters think is OK, then I want nothing to do with him or them.

Jennifer Howard, Southwest Portland

District 37 needs common sense approach of Sloop

I hope your readers will vote for Republican Kelly Sloop for state representative in House District 37. Kelly is a native to the West Linn area. She is a fantastic candidate with deep roots here. She will not stand by and watch our communities become Portland.

Kelly would have voted no on the cap-and-trade bill which would have cost my family and Oregon lots more money and done nothing to reduce climate change.

We need Kelly as she is someone who will lead with common sense and facts. Please help our communities by voting for Kelly Sloop in HD 37 and she will stand up to Portland politics.

Josie Alexander, Rivergrove

Grant's experience is what Columbia County needs

I am supporting the re-election of Jennifer Grant as Circuit Court judge.

During the past six years as a member of the Columbia County Citizens Review Board for the Oregon Judicial Department, I have observed Judge Grant to be thoughtful, fair and appropriate in her decisions. It is important that we maintain consistency and experience on the bench throughout these difficult times.

Please join me this May in casting your vote to re-elect Judge Jennifer Grant.

Nancy Bubl, Warren


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